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Wes Goodwin impressed with Clemson’s defensive showing in first game

Max Knipstein, Contributor

Clemson defensive coordinator Wes Goodwin speaks to the media at the Allen N. Reeves Football Complex.

Clemson’s defense put on a strong showing against Georgia Tech on Monday. 

In the off-season, there was speculation about how Wes Goodwin would step into this new role as Clemson’s defensive coordinator. Goodwin answered those questions, holding the Yellow Jackets to 10 points and 237 total yards. 

After the game, Goodwin spoke to the media and expressed his content with not only the execution of the fundamentals but the depth of the defense. 

“We got to play a lot of guys who had earned the right to play and got a lot of guys quality reps and crucial situations,” Goodwin said. “It was cool to see them get the opportunities that they had earned through their preparation and time put in this off-season. I feel really confident that it helps build our depth and build chemistry and cohesion amongst our unit.”

The depth of the defense was complemented by the sheer talent of the players.

Although it was a team-effort, key players like defensive end K.J. Henry shined. 

After recording 22 total tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2021, Henry came into the 2022 season with high expectations for himself. 

The fifth-year senior picked up seven total tackles and a sack in the season opener, constantly disrupting the Yellow Jackets’ offense.

Goodwin expressed his content with Henry’s activity in the backfield, saying he “noticed him show up quite a few times.”

Henry’s mature performance was complimented by some rising stars on the Tigers’ defense, one of which was sophomore linebacker Barrett Carter.

Carter picked up eight total tackles — a team-high that was tied with Trenton Simpson, who had eight total tackles as well.

Clemson’s defense also featured dominant pass rushers like defensive end Myles Murphy and defensive tackle Bryan Bresee. 

Bresee established his high-caliber style of play from the onset of Monday’s game, obtaining his first sack of the season. 

Goodwin has large shoes to fill after Brent Venables had a tremendous amount of success. But for now, Goodwin is off to a hot start in his first full season as a coordinator.

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